MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Several Memphis police officers have contacted FOX13 venting about the lack of protective gear when the violent protests broke out following the deadly shooting of Brandon Webber in Frayser.
A combined 36 officers and deputies were injured, some of whom were sent to the hospital for injuries they sustained during the chaos. One officer had his jaw broken and two teeth knocked out.
According to police documents, the Memphis Police Department has spent nearly $110,000 over the past two years to buy crowd-control chemicals.
Officers told FOX13 the department needs to invest more in protective gear – the type that was needed during last week’s protests.
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Some officers said some of the currently used protective shields were old and ineffective to stop the objects being thrown at them.
"You are absolutely vulnerable. You have absolutely no protection whatsoever. There is an opportunity to have a rib cage broken," said retired SCSO deputy Bennie Cobb.
Cobb said protective gear for crowd control is vital to officers’ safety, but not everyone can be provided the equipment.
“Those guys on the front line deserve to have a helmet that fits with a face shield,” Cobb said.
MPD has spent nearly $110,000 to restock the chemicals used to control and disperse unruly crowds since 2018. The most recent purchase in May was for gas masks and riot-agent canisters.
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